“Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”
“I don’t understand writers who have to work at it. I like to play. I’m interested in having fun with ideas, throwing them up in the air like confetti and then running under them.”
“I’ve never worked a day in my life. I’ve never worked a day in my life. The joy of writing has propelled me from day to day and year to year. I want you to envy me, my joy. Get out of here tonight and say: ‘Am I being joyful?’ And if you’ve got a writer’s block, you can cure it this evening by stopping whatever you’re writing and doing something else. You picked the wrong subject.’”
Ray, Ray! What a ray of sunshine! A writer who loves writing and crows about it! For a dose of inspiration, check out Zen and the Art of Writing.
Today, August 22, is his birthday—he was born in 1920. Ray is widely known for his jarring science fiction novel, Fahrenheit 451, but he was truly a Renaissance writer: He penned novels, plays, poems, essays, film scripts, and hundreds of short stories. Ray said he wrote every day of his life for 69 years — and loved every minute. He was a big believer in getting out of your own way as a writer and letting stories bubble up from the subconscious.
Here’s an example from his own storied life: Ray spent a very wet, lonely winter in Ireland writing a film script adapting Moby Dick. He was miserable, and vowed that his time in Ireland would never find its way into his fiction. A few years later, however, what he called his “subliminal eye” triggered a memory of an Irish taxi driver that led to a play. He went on to write several short stories, poems, and essays, all fueled by his brief stay on the Emerald Isle.
Ray recalls: “I found myself blessing the secret mind,” the inner eye that “observed when I thought I was sitting this one out. We never sit anything out. We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
Finding ways to tap inner creativity is a major theme in his wonderful guide, Zen in the Art of Writing. I had a copy once, but gave it to a writer friend. Reading his beautiful musings on writing has inspired me to get another one and share its wisdom.
Tap your own secret mind, turn to your inner eye — and write on!
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